Understood. I don’t know what your market is like in terms of competition, but $5 for ANY length really does seem too cheap. Perhaps see what your competition are doing, and price yourself slightly below the norm? If $5 normally covers podcasts up to 30 mins, maybe you come in at 60 mins? Just don’t feel like you have to sell your soul in order to get orders. If you’re really good at what you do, and you can demonstrate that to buyers, price yourself at what you think you’re worth.
The only people who will frown at this are your old customers who enjoyed getting work from you for cheap! We started out on the site offering 125 words of voiceover for $5. Over the past 18 months, we’ve reduced that word-count to 25 words for $5, essentially making us 5 times more expensive now.
I’ll admit, it was a slog for the first few months, and we worked insanely hard for (what felt like) little money. We raised our prices in-line with our skills getting sharper, our equipment getting better and our 5-star review count getting higher. It was a gradual thing. We literally dropped our word rate to 100, then 50 a few months later, and then the 25 we’re at now.
We lost some old customers along the way. We had a guy in our first month get an 8,000 word VO from us for about $50 all-in. (It took us about 10 hours back then because we were inexperienced and slow) These days, we’d charge him $1600 before extras. There’s simply no way he would ever pay that kind of money, so he’ll look for another newbie seller instead. More power to him, and we’re grateful to him because he was our first big project.
One thing I will say about raising your prices is you avoid a LOT of the drama that comes with the cheap orders. Generally, buyers with sensible budgets know what they want and will treat sellers with dignity and respect. This is less often the case with $5 orders. We’re so much happier at our price point now than we were in the beginning.
I’m not saying don’t price yourself low… quite the opposite, because it’s exactly what we did. I just worry that your current pricing strategy could leave you open to people taking advantage.
Best of luck to you!